System Selection - Platt & Hill Limited
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IT Strategy & Systems Selection - Ferranti Technologies Limited
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Selection of Software Developer - Dyson Insulations Limited
Dyson Insulations Limited, which specialises in cavity wall and roof insulation, and home heating systems, commissioned us to select a software developer to develop new applications systems.More Info

Time and Effort Required

This is part of the sub-web covering Selecting ERP, and other Application, Computer Systems. To go to the overview of this sub-web, please click Overview. To go to the web-site home page, please click Home.

Programme of work

A typical assignment starts with discussions with the senior staff involved, to discuss the major issues and to identify the key staff. These discussions are followed by a series of interviews, commonly lasting 1 to 1½ hours, with each of these staff, plus a representative sample of the remainder of the workforce. Within a week of the last interview our clients receive the first discussion document, outlining the requirements, and we move on to producing a full Statement of Requirements, as well as starting to identify potential suppliers. During this period, we conduct further interviews, as required, to clarify any detailed points.

Over a period of 4 to 5 months, we aim to produce relevant documents, at each key stage of the process, for review and discussion by the management team. This allows the team to be aware of progress and to contribute regularly as the project continues.

Once the final decision has been made, we review the suggested contract and, if required, produce the implementation plan, with the chosen supplier, identifying the tasks to be undertaken, by whom and when, to achieve the desired outcome. If required, which is not usually the case, we then consolidate the discussion documents into a formal report, with any appropriate summary documents which may be required.

The stages of a selection assignment usually are:

- preparing the Statement of Requirements (see Producing SoR);

- choosing potential suppliers (see Choosing Potential Suppliers);

- the tendering process (see Tendering Process);

- evaluation of tenders (see Evaluating Tenders);

- contract review (see Contract Review);

- implementation planning (see Implementation Planning).


The fastest practicable timescale to achieve a full selection is around 4 months, assuming that all interviewees are available when required and that all parties respond quickly. A more usual timescale is 5 to 6 months.

A typical timescale, for a selection, would be:


- 1 to 3 - Interviews;

- 4 - Prepare Outline Requirements Document;

- 5 to 6 - Produce full Statement of Requirements;

- identify potential suppliers;

- 7 - revise Statement of Requirements and produce Invitation to Tender;

- discuss and agree list of suppliers invited to tender;

- 8 - issue Invitation to Tender;

- 9 to 11 - liaise with suppliers;

- 11 - receive proposals;

- 12 to 13 - review proposals;

- 14 - discuss proposals;

- agree short-list;

- 15 - arrange visits & demonstrations;

- 16 to 18 - attend visits and demonstrations;

- 19 - receive revised proposals;

- 20 - discuss and agree choice of supplier;

- 21 - review contract;

- 22 to 23 - negotiate;

- 24 - sign contract;

- 25 to 26 - plan implementation.

Roles and Responsibilities

During the project the Consultant and Client staff will adopt certain distinct roles and responsibilities. Normally these will include:



It is important that the system chosen belongs to management and is regularly updated and the staff feel that it reflects their needs


Strongly linked to the idea of ownership it is important that the bulk of the system is felt to reflect the strategic aims of the client and, so, supports the future development of the business


Once selected, the system will be implemented and used by the client's staff


Control of the implementation and use of the system will be undertaken by management, and any change in the needs of the business will be analysed and a new course of action agreed, possibly requiring supplier involvement


Reviews, by discussion, will be carried out, at each stage of the project, to ensure that the requirements have been properly defined and that the selection is proceeding towards satisfying those requirements


Advisor/ Interpreter

Ensuring that any technical computing issues raised are explained and addressed and informed decisions are made


Based on having done this many times before, knowing what is required, and what can be expected


Listening and finding out what the requirements really are


Of virtually all the documents


Causing action to take place

Team Member

We're all in this together

What effort is involved?

Selecting computer systems for small to medium companies commonly takes around 20 to 30 days of effort from the consultant, but has been as low as 15. In addition, there is the time spent attending demonstrations of short-listed systems. Subsequently, some firms like the consultant to control the implementation, with effort of one to two days per month being typical.

The staff involvement is composed of the following elements:

- around 1½ hours per person interviewed plus ½ to 1 hour for any follow-up interview required, which might be needed in, say, 1 in 4 cases;

- around 1 hour per member of key staff for the discussion on objectives;

- management team - as above plus the following effort per person:

* discussion of statement of requirements - up to ½ day,

* discussion of tender list - up to ½ day,

* discussion of proposals received - up to ½ day,

* attendance at demonstrations - up to 6 days,

* decision on preferred supplier - around 1 day,

* contract negotiations - around 1 day,

* plus time supervising the implementation.

Exceptions to the above rules apply when there are 'concealed agendas', such as where external constraints apply, such as approval being required, at key points, from a separate head office. In such circumstances, or where the company has awkward problems, additional discussions, albeit with a small group of people, will be needed.

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